Science writer Virginia Hughes says that, based on her experiences profiling researchers across disciplines and an adaptation of the Myers-Briggs personality test, there are "four types of scientists." Hughes makes two separate distinctions to classify researchers: is this person "motivated by data or by theories?" and "are they nerds or adventurers?" she writes. Based on the answers to these questions, she claims that scientists can be classified into the "Data-Driven Nerd/Myers-Briggs ISTJ," the "Theory-Driven Nerd/Myers-Briggs INTJ," the "Data-Driven Adventurer/Myers-Briggs ESTP," or the "Theory-Driven Adventurer/Myers-Briggs ENTP." She names Rosalind Franklin, Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong, and Craig Venter as archetypal examples of each, respectively. "Crafting these buckets is not (only) for a cheap blog laugh. I think typing actually gives useful insight into what it means to be a scientist," Hughes says, adding that her "theory crumbles, of course, as soon as a commenter points out some famous scientist who doesn't fall into one of these buckets."
Are You a Franklin, Einstein, Armstrong, or Venter?
Sep 29, 2010